Kamloops native set to play in the NBA championship finals

Kelly Olynyk of the Miami Heat will be representing Kamloops as he faces off against Lebron James and the Lakers

Local legend, Kelly Olynyk, has come a long way since his beginnings in Kamloops. After moving to the area in the seventh grade, and later graduating from South Kamloops Secondary, Olynyk will now have the opportunity to compete for a National Basketball Association championship starting this week. His rise to success is inspiring to local athletes. 

Kelly Olynyk moved to Kamloops as a twelve-year-old in 2003 after his father Ken Olynyk took a job as the Athletic Director of the formerly known “University College Cariboo athletic program”. As his father progressed the program into what it is known today, the Thompson Rivers University Wolfpack, Kelly excelled in the game of basketball. 

He quickly became a force to be reckoned with. In his senior year, he was named the Basketball B.C. Outstanding High School Player of the Year and was a member of the Canadian Junior National team. 

Due to his success, Olynyk had his pick on where he wanted to attend university and was recruited heavily by some of the top universities in North America. He decided to go with the Gonzaga Bulldogs located in Spokane, Washington to remain close to home. 

He played three seasons with the Bulldogs, finishing with a breakout year of 17.8 points per game. His childhood dream came true after he was drafted in the first round of the 2013 NBA draft. Olynyk spent four seasons with the Boston Celtics before signing with the Miami Heat on a four-year deal for 50 million dollars. 

Who would have thought a kid from Kamloops would be making 12.5 million dollars per year playing basketball in Miami? He has proven his worth, competing in over 500 games while averaging 9.7 points per game.

 Kevin Brechin, TRU Wolfpack physiotherapist has a longstanding relationship with Olynyk that continues to this day. 

“I started working with Kelly 15 years ago when I moved to Kamloops to work at TRU. I have had the pleasure of watching him excel at South Kamloops Secondary to the NBA,” Brechin said. “My relationship with him has been as a therapist, conditioning coach but most of all family. Kelly has been great to my family over the years. It would be amazing to see him win an NBA championship.” 

After recently defeating his former team – the Boston Celtics – Olynyk and the Heat will now face the Los Angeles Lakers who are ranked as the number one team from the Western Conference. 

Miami is undoubtedly the underdogs in this matchup after they finished the regular season ranked #5 in the Eastern conference; but, if there is one thing 2020 has taught us, it is that anything can happen, and to expect the unexpected. 

Cheer on Olynyk during the NBA finals starting September 30, visit stats.nba.com/schedule/ for the full NBA schedule.